The whole Elena Kagan mediagasm is really only just getting racheted up, and while I expect to see a ream of writing on the prospective Supreme Court Justice -- some for and against, some serious and some frivolous -- I think that we can all state definitively that the worst piece that will be written on the subject has been handed in by Robin Givhan and published by the Washington Post. It is the most hollow thing I've read in a long time. If I were to slice a fine layer from the newsprint it is burned on, that thin leaf of paper would be much deeper than any of the thought going on in the piece. By the way, the piece is about Elena Kagan's fashion choices and how drab they are.
Lest you miss this, somehow, it's titled, "Elena Kagan goes on Supreme Court confirmation offensive in drab D.C. clothes", and it's a strenuous exercise in not mattering.
Among the shallow things you'll learn about Kagan, you will discover:
--The other "men and women who have gone through this process have not been daring in their wardrobe choices either." That should have been a clear a sign as any that this piece was an empty-headed exercise. Still, Givhan insists that Kagan takes "the anti-style offensive several steps further."
--"There's little that could be described as fun, impish or creative in her dress," and it is "a wholly middle-age approach to a wardrobe." It's almost as if she were a middle-aged woman, nominated to be a Supreme Court Justice.
--"Kagan's version of middle-age seems stuck in a time warp, back when 50-something did not mean Kim Cattrall or Sharon Stone, 'Cougar Town' or 'Sex and the City.'" See also: "It's almost as if she were a middle-aged woman, nominated to be a Supreme Court Justice."
--"Kagan knows the cameras are there. She just doesn't seem to care." CAMERAS ARE THE NEW CAMPUS MILITARY RECRUITERS!
--"How discombobulated would folks be if a male nominee walked the Hill wearing a Thom Browne suit with trousers that ended at the ankles or if a woman strode purposefully down the marble corridors in a pair of platform Christian Louboutin heels and a Marni sack dress?" Jesus, is the correct answer "VERY DISCOMBOBULATED?" Because okay, my answer is "very discombobulated." What do I win?
--Is there going to be a mention of "secret lesbianism?" There is! "For Kagan, that means folks are using fashion as a limited tool for making sense of her sexual orientation." "Folks," by the way, equals "straw men," who are always very judgmental about fashion.
--"So the chatter on the Internet and in the coffee shops, turns to the lesbian archetypes: the Birkenstock-wearing, crunchy granola womyn; the short-haired, androgynous type; and the glamorous, lipstick-wearing Portia de Rossi girl. What does Kagan's short hair mean? Or the fact that she wears makeup?"
By the way, Givhan devotes two paragraphs to the fact that Kagan doesn't cross her legs like a lady when she sits down. The accompanying photo online shows Kagan, legs uncrossed, with a caption that reads, "UNUSUAL: Most women, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar, cross their legs when sitting, but not Kagan." The whole legs-uncrossed thing is like Givhan's Pentagon Papers. Kagan's failings in this area are stated very definitively. You can be left with no other impression than that Kagan steadfastly refuses to cross her legs.
This is the part where I remind you that Robin Givhan is a Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist.